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Clergy-Congregation Mismatches and Clergy Job Satisfaction

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Clergy are sometimes matched with congregations that are not as liberal or conservative as they are. We develop two arguments that predict different effects of clergy-congregation mismatches in theological conservatism/liberalism on clergy job satisfaction. One argument predicts no effect of a mismatch on job satisfaction because clergy have been socialized to expect challenges and frustrations in their ministry. The other argument predicts a reduction in clergy job satisfaction because of the clergy-congregation conflict produced by the theology mismatch. National data (N= 2,467) from two Protestant denominations are used to test these two hypotheses. We find support for the conflict argument: theology mismatches do produce clergy job dissatisfaction, net of numerous other factors. However, this happens only when the minister is more liberal (not more conservative) than the congregation. Additional analysis also showed that these mismatched clergy are more likely to intend to leave their current churches.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: University of Iowa, Iowa City 2: Truman State University, Kirksville, MO

Publication date: June 1, 2004

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